Archive for Friday, December 8, 2006

Group to push for Lawrence minimum wage

Grassroots Action aims to help ‘ordinary people’ live above poverty level

December 8, 2006

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Lawrence should adopt a local minimum wage that forces most sizable businesses to pay at least several dollars more than the federal minimum wage.

That is one of the main ideas of a newly formed political organization that hopes to become a force at City Hall. Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commissioner David Burress, Kansas University associate professor Kirk McClure and about a dozen other Lawrence residents have formed Grassroots Action, a Lawrence-based nonprofit that hopes to lobby city and county leaders for "progressive change."

"What I mean by progressive is progress for ordinary people, trying to make the lives of ordinary people better," said Burress, a retired KU economist.

Increasing the wages of "ordinary people" will be high on the group's list. Burress and McClure said the group is putting together a proposal for a local minimum wage ordinance that would require businesses to pay wages that allow their workers to meet or exceed the city's poverty level.

Burress estimated that would require a wage of around $8 per hour, but McClure said the group still is discussing whether a minimum wage should be higher than that. The federal minimum wage is $5.15 per hour.

McClure said the group also is discussing whether all businesses in the city should be made to comply or whether it should be based on a business' size.

The group could propose a system similar to one in Santa Fe, N.M., where employers with more than 24 people on the payroll must pay above the city's minimum wage, which started at $8.50 an hour but is set to increase to $9.50 an hour in 2007.

A different concept

The proposal would be different than Lawrence's adopted living wage ordinance. That city law requires companies that receive a tax abatement to pay a living wage of at least $10.38 per hour, which is 130 percent of the federal poverty level. It does not put any wage requirements on other businesses in the community.

Lavern Squier, president of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, said a discussion of a citywide minimum wage was part of the dialogue when the city approved the living wage ordinance in 2003.

"This kind of falls into the 'been there, done that' category," Squier said. "We would have to have serious discussions about any proposal. From what I've heard, communities that have wrestled with this have found it to be an unpleasant process.

"There are negative impacts from both inside and outside the community because it is such a divisive topic."

McClure, who is an associate professor in urban planning, said the group is interested in the minimum wage issue because its members think the federal minimum wage has done little to keep up with inflation, and that Lawrence historically has wages lower than the statewide average or those in nearby Kansas City.

"We have tried to determine how much of that is related to being a college town, but we don't believe it can all be attributed to that," McClure said.

More ideas

A minimum wage law is not the only idea the group has. It also intends to study:

¢ The concept of formula zoning. It could be used to create a zoning category that would limit the number of chain retailers in any one block of downtown. Burress said that concept may be a way to preserve downtown's unique character.

¢ A local law to require health benefits be offered to employees of major retail chains.

¢ Ways to ensure the city's housing and retail growth do not outpace the city's population growth.

The group plans to be different than the existing Progressive Lawrence Campaign, which is a political action committee that helped with the campaigns of city commissioners Boog Highberger, Mike Rundle and David Schauner.

Burress said the Grassroots Action group would not register as a PAC, which would prohibit it from raising money for candidates. He said current plans call for the group to focus on promoting ideas rather than endorsing candidates or helping run their campaigns.

The group is having an organizational meeting open to the public at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt.

Comments

middleoftheroader 8 years, 7 months ago

"It's the government's responsibility to respond to the needs of it's citizens. This is a NEED to live."- People in Lawrence are dying right now because the minimum wage isnt high enough??? Tony88, not one person has died as a result of the minimum wage remaining stagnant for the past several years in the city of Lawrence, not unless it was by choice, there are plenty of outlets for those with little or no money. As a counterpoint I would also submit that not one person would have died as a result of having INCREASED the minimum wage either. You have made the assertion that it is the governments responsibility to respond to the needs of it's citizens, If having a job were a right then perhaps you would have a point, HAVING a job isnt a right, SEEKING employment certainly is. On a side note I would like to mention that I work at an hourly rate job in the single digits. I dont have a car because I can't afford one. In the winter months this makes it quite difficult for me to get to work... If it were blizzarding hard enough it would be impossible for me to get to work. Can I rightly petition the government for a vehicle since i cant afford one and sometimes would need one to get to work? Of course not... nor should i receive one. It is my responsibility to get to work, just as it is my responsibility to perform my job duties, just as it is my responsibility to seek employment, just as it is my responsibility to feed myself, clothe myself, bathe myself, and if i cant do these things it isnt the governments responsibility to do these things for me.

middleoftheroader 8 years, 7 months ago

I was paraphrasing his quote, there is the connection.

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

The Kommissars reveal themselves, at last.

truthhurts 8 years, 7 months ago

"ways to ensure the city's housing and retail growth do not outpace the city's population growth"

If these proposed business restrictions are implemented then Lawrence will no longer have to worry about population growth.

conservative 8 years, 7 months ago

Wow, so many bad ideas in one little article.

These people obviously do not understand economics.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

These are really scary ideas, I know. They could actually mean that businesses would need to be run by fair-minded grown-ups.

conservative 8 years, 7 months ago

No bozo, it would mean more businesses would go out of business, or leave lawrence because they couldn't make a profit. Raising what they pay their people by 60% often would raise the price of their goods above what people would be willing to pay for them.

Looks like you don't understand economics either.

monkeyhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

That is undoubtedly part of the intent, truthhurts.

Along with the inevitable pass of many businesses to locate here, they would like to drive as many existing businesses out as possible. They must truly want to make Lawrence the most expensive place on earth to live. A place for only the most elite.

Couple this with the intent of the city to tax you out of your homes so they can take them over for "affordable" housing. It is time for everyone to wake up and realize that Lawrence is in critical condition.

samsnewplace 8 years, 7 months ago

Is it all about the business owner making alot of money, or is it about his employees making enough money to live on? When we are talking about companies that make money above and boyond expenses and wages, let's share the wealth just a tad here.

Shardwurm 8 years, 7 months ago

"Raising what they pay their people by 60% often would raise the price of their goods above what people would be willing to pay for them."

BINGO!

Someone has to pay for any increase in cost. Guess who that someone is. YOU.

Businesses aren't charitable organizations.

Fuel prices have driven costs up everywhere. It costs nearly $30 for a family of 4 to eat at freaking McDonald's for crying out loud. Add increased wages and it's going to make things very painful for us all.

cowboy 8 years, 7 months ago

While I would ask is running a business where you have to pay 6 bucks an hour to make it is really worth the effortand time the flip side is do you want to be new york city where a pack of cigarettes is ten dollars and a cup of coffee five dollars.

The other issue is most Lawrence businesses pay this because they can get a way with it. The is only a smattering of them owned locally and the rest are owned by large franchise groups out of town and out of state. What do they really do for the community ?

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

Unionize all workers in Lawrence. That is what these guys are trying to do through force of law.

The term, "Peoples Republik of Lawrence" is on its way to not being just a joke anymore.

estespark 8 years, 7 months ago

I wonder what those minimum wage workers would do with their extra earnings?

I say cut minimum wage and thereby encourage those who work for minimum wage to improve their skillsets and in turn find higher paying jobs.

Aileen Dingus 8 years, 7 months ago

You know- I'm all for making more money, but I don't think this is a good idea.

I haven't done much research on it though, so I'm going to leave my comments at that.

Sigmund 8 years, 7 months ago

Forcing only businesses inside the City of Lawrence to pay more for minimally skilled labor than what it is worth will be responded to either by: 1) moving, 2) attempting to charge more to customers than what those outside of Lawrence charge, 3) hiring fewer and requiring current employees to produce more (60% or so in this case), 4) never hiring more than 24 people, 5) hiring illegal Mexicans (oh I mean undocumented workers), 6) hiring no one, all jobs would be done by "independent contractors" who are outside of Lawrence for work done inside of Lawrence.

Now you have to ask yourself a couple of questions; 1) which of these outcomes is good for Lawrence, and 2) why did the Bozo Business Czar form a organization separate from the PLC?

None of the responses from business in the first instances are good for Lawrence. Businesses will NOT simply roll over and allow the PLC to do this. And the Bozo Business Czar formed a new organization because even the PLC wants to distance itself from this, especially with an election months away. You can bet that the members of both groups are nearly identical.

I wonder how many employees Dillons and Hy-Vee hire? I wonder how many people The Merc hires? IF the PLC grocers hire fewer than 25 people and their competitors hire more than 25 people, guess who gets a City mandated competitive advantage in the grocery business in Lawrence?

But I am thinking the PLC/GA haven't gone far enough. I'm thinking $25.00/hour with complete health benefits package paid 100% by the employer and 30 days paid vacation.

Why not?

cork_dork 8 years, 7 months ago

How about the folks that want to raise the minimum wage sell everything they own so that they can open their own business! Until you have been in a position where you are paying someone else out of your own pocket you have absolutely no right telling everyone who does what they need to pay those people....especially when most of them are going to be students who only want to work part time and have extremely poor work ethics!

kshiker 8 years, 7 months ago

I have an idea on how the city can ensure that housing and retail growth does not outpace population growth. Brace yourself, it is extremely novel . . . The City Commission could stop being so anti-growth and anti-business that companies would actually want to locate their facilities and employees in Lawrence. This would probably require a more readily available supply of housing than is currently available; something that would be much easier if the progressives stopped micro-managing the professional planning staff who understand the need for decreased regulatory burdens on new housing and retail projects. . . Just a thought. Feel free to ridicule me now communists!

tweetybird2 8 years, 7 months ago

If this is enforced on small business many would close. If they do this it should be based on business size.

Sigmund 8 years, 7 months ago

"The proposal would be different than Lawrence's adopted living wage ordinance. That city law requires companies that receive a tax abatement to pay a living wage of at least $10.38 per hour, which is 130 percent of the federal poverty level."

How well has this worked? How many new jobs has this created? How many businesses have showed an interest in opening up major facilities in Lawrence since this was enacted?

Stephen Roberts 8 years, 7 months ago

I think people should make more money also but I don't like this idea.

I have a better- First all governement workers should take a 10% pay decrease to pay other people more.

I bet those people who are trying to do Grass roots thing would be the first ones to complain about that.

I am really for giving a hand up not a hand out. The people who work the minimum wage jobs (if they want to) should try to get better skills.

These people who formed this group work for KU and the city. They live in a fantasy world.

estespark 8 years, 7 months ago

"...a proposal for a local minimum wage ordinance that would require businesses to pay wages that allow their workers to meet or exceed the city's poverty level."

Why should it be the responsibility of a business to pay wages that allow workers to meet or exceed the city's poverty level? Shouldn't it be up to the individual workers to earn enough income to live above the poverty level?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

Not a lot of fair-minded grownups posting here, as usual.

estespark 8 years, 7 months ago

The Federal minimum wage needs to be increased thereby providing a more level playing field. If minimum wage is $8 across the board Lawrence will still be competitive.

Perhaps even the States should mandate their own tailored minimum wages.

Horatio Bfor 8 years, 7 months ago

I am a small business. My company has over 24 employees total. I would move my business out of town. Not a threat, a fact.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

"I am a small business. My company has over 24 employees total. I would move my business out of town. Not a threat, a fact. "

Bu-bye, Simon Legree.

concerned_citizen 8 years, 7 months ago

I wonder how many downtown boutiques will be conveniently excepted by this 'tax'? Geez, the large corporations who are the targets of this can well afford to close down and set up shop elsewhere, taking their jobs with them.

And as for you students, think ahead. Part of your educational plan should include attending school in an area where there is abundant part-time flexible employment. I commuted to KC to work while I went to KU. There are hardly enough part-time/summer jobs available for adults who need them to work around a child's school schedule or their own education to better their family than subsidizing your summer fun in Lawrence.

You know, for those in favor, there is nothing stopping you from slipping a fiver to every "slave" as smitty calls them wherever you find them. Show your solidarity that way.

Sigmund 8 years, 7 months ago

The Bozo Business Czar formed this new organization, Grassroot Action, because even the PLC wants to distance itself from this. Especially with an election just months away. But you can bet that the members of both groups are nearly identical, the usual socialist suspects.

By the way, I wonder how many employees Dillons and Hy-Vee hire? I wonder how many people The Merc hires? IF the PLC grocers (or is is the GA grocers now) hire fewer than 25 people and their competitors hire 25 or more people, guess who gets a City mandated competitive advantage in the grocery business in Lawrence?

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 7 months ago

I do have a problem with the 24 employee comment. I know the likes of targets, and walmarts can well afford this but I am not to sure that a bus. with 24 emp. can that might be the straw that breaks the camels back as some would say. It has been my experienc that alot of places already pay close to 8$ an hour to start as it is I know some do not but.. Well guess I did not add anything to this with my ramble.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

"I wonder how many people The Merc hires?"

Don't know the exact number, but it's over 100, and they already pay wages that would meet or exceed these minimums.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 7 months ago

Minimum wage proposals are worthless until you control the hiring of illegal aliens, that will work for LESS than the minimum wage. That would be illegal you say, ... well it is already ILLEGAL to hire them anyway.

New2Lawrence 8 years, 7 months ago

How about instead of mandating it, Let's give Tax breaks or other incentives to businesses that pay fair wages to their employees. That way everyone wins.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

"It costs nearly $30 for a family of 4 to eat at freaking McDonald's for crying out loud. Add increased wages and it's going to make things very painful for us all."

This typifies how silly the arguments against raising the minimum wage are. No one "needs" to eat at McDonalds. If you "need" to eat there so badly that it requires their use of slave labor so you can afford it, what you really "need" to do is reassess your priorities, and your humanity.

And don't tell me how it will destroy the economy. If you don't spend that $30 at McDonalds, you will almost certainly spend it somewhere else, most likely in Lawrence.

And if you don't spend it all, economists tell us that the savings rate in the US is way too low, anyway.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

"The impact on the economy of an increase in min. wage by $3 would be nothing short of catastrophic. "

Can you write us a short list of the resulting catastrophes?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

"wage is still exactly the same as when I got out of high school over 10 years ago."

Yea, and it would take at least a $3 increase to get it where it was ten years ago.

estespark 8 years, 7 months ago

I think Sasquatch raises an interesting point. If I make $9/hour when minimum wage is $5.15/hour - what amount will I expect when minimum wage is $8/hour? I would most likely expect to make $14/hour. Catastrophic? Maybe.

I do know that Union wages are directly proportional to the Federal minimum wage - an increase in minimum wage would most likely lead to a spike in Union wages as well. Catastrophic? Not if you are an electrician or steam fitter.

Horatio Bfor 8 years, 7 months ago

"I am a small business. My company has over 24 employees total. I would move my business out of town. Not a threat, a fact."

So, by that logic...why not move it to Mexico or China? The wages are REALLY cheap there. Or just outsource the whole thing overseas.

You need to step up to the plate and pay what people are worth. Min. wage is the same for 9 years...has the cost of living stayed the same for that period?

Let me make my point cleaer: If you're paying $5.15 to full-time workers, you're a scumbag and we don't want your business here.

.............. I'm not competiing against China. I am competing against Chicago and Texas. If my costs go up, I go out of business. With this proposal, I move to Eudora or I would go out of business. I didn't say I was paying 5.15 per hour to full time employees. I'm not sure that there are full time workers in Lawrence only getting $5.15. I can assure you that if I had an employee that was only paid $5.15 per hour full time, he would only be worth that or less. As I said, I don't pay full time employees that low.

People are paid based on what they are worth / what I can afford. I can't do more.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

Why is that interesting, Marion? Especially to someone who doesn't even live in Lawrence.

unite2revolt 8 years, 7 months ago

Agnostick

The report in the link http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa240es.htm... that you cited is based on a welfare program that hasn't existed since the mid-90s. TANF is the new welfare program refered to as "welfare to work" is in its tenth year. AFDC the old welfare program was eliminated in 1996. You might want to use more current information in your arguements.

Recipients can only receive TANF benefits for 24 months at a time, for a life time maximum benefit of 60 months.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

I knew you couldn't/wouldn't answer my question-- other than to spew some more of your petty and pointless irrelevancies.

imastinker 8 years, 7 months ago

some people are not worth paying minimum wage. They are unable or unwilling to do the job. These people will be overpaid or unemployed now.

truthhurts 8 years, 7 months ago

A little off the subject here but I'm not sure why this group doesn't register as a PAC. Progressive Lawrence (love em or hate em) has been very successful in accomplishing their goals by getting their candidates elected. This just sounds like a splinter group of PL?

Linda Endicott 8 years, 7 months ago

I hear a lot of people on these boards stating how, if you can't afford to take care of children, then you shouldn't have them...

Well, here's a unique concept for you...if you can't afford to pay your employees a living wage, then why the hell do you have a business? If you don't have the money to do it properly, then don't start that business.

kshiker 8 years, 7 months ago

I personally don't think the minimum wage issue is that big of a deal. Most people aren't paid the minimum wage any more. This will mostly affect part-time workers who are most likely students or second wage earners in a family. Frankly, with the federal minimum wage expected to go up by at least $2.00 dollars in the next session of Congress, this will probably become a moot issue.

The worst idea in the rap sheet above proposed by this Progressive Action group is the proposal to require large retail chains to offer mandatory health benefits to all employees. Why doesn't the City Commission require the same from the downtown merchants they are constantly trying to protect?

Just because someone works for Wal-Mart, why are they entitled to better benefits than someone who works for a store located downtown? If we are going to require this supposedly "progressive" benefit for large retailer employees, why don't we extend this benefit to people who work in downtown stores as well?

Come on Bozo, let me hear your wonderfully hypocritical argument on this one. . .

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

"some people are not worth paying minimum wage. They are unable or unwilling to do the job."

Then don't hire them. But let's raise the currently abysmally low minimum wage so it can't be used as cover for screwing those that can do the job.

budwhysir 8 years, 7 months ago

ordinary people: yet another political catch phrase. Does this classification include polititians, economic analysts, and large company owners?

I do not find a listing for this phrase in the dictionary so I am left to make my own assumption as to its meaning. I believe that I can make my own decision on how much I am willing to work for. Especialy in a free enterprise system that allows us to work or not work on our own choosing.

I hope all of the new political organizations keep the ordinary people in mind while researching what is in our best interests.

signed just another ordinary person in todays society

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

"Especialy in a free enterprise system that allows us to work or not work on our own choosing."

I guess if you're born rich, or don't mind joining all the homeless folks who "chose" their lifestyle, that's one way to look at it.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 7 months ago

no what is an outrage is my husband giving away all my christmas decorations and not telling me so I just spent an hour trying to find them. Now either I just go without or go spend some hard earned ordinary people money on new stuff. outrage I tell you.

Horatio Bfor 8 years, 7 months ago

"Then why the hell do you have a business? If you don't have the money to do it properly, then don't start that business."

You are assuming a lot. Being able to stay in business IS "doing it properly". Running a business has much to do with being competitive with other businesses. If they can do something cheaper, they can sell their product cheaper. If you have a business that cannot compete with them, you go out of business. My argument is not about national minimum wages, it is about local minimum wages that are higher. When your customer base is national, not local, you must compete with costs on a national basis. Businesses that have non local customers also bring in cash to the local community. This is good.

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 7 months ago

commuter wrote that "I am really for giving a hand up not a hand out. The people who work the minimum wage jobs (if they want to) should try to get better skills."

How can they get those improved skills?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

"Businesses that have non local customers also bring in cash to the local community. This is good."

But if you only pay a very paltry minimum wage, it's really only good for you, not the community.

Quit confusing your own narrow self-interest with what is good for the community.

hockmano 8 years, 7 months ago

Excuse ME, (EstesPark)

"I wonder what those minimum wage earners would do with their extra wages?"

That is the most ignorant statement anyone has posted on here! I go to school and am one of those who make a little more than minimum wage. If my pay were raised I'd probably SUPPORT MY FAMILY WITH IT!

What? Do you think everyone who makes minimum wage or a little more is someone with no education? Are they all people who have no skills? Are you insinuating that these people would all spend there money on booze and drugs?

Wake up! Alot of people in this town are in the same boat when it comes to pay and not being able to support their family! So get out from behind that white picket fence and look at what this nation is coming too!

It is a sad day when people who do have skills and an education still cannot support their own!

Give me a break!

Horatio Bfor 8 years, 7 months ago

"I am a small business. My company has over 24 employees total. I would move my business out of town. Not a threat, a fact."

Good. Beat it then. Nice loyalty to your employees chince

I do my employees no good if I go out of business. They would loose their jobs for sure then.

opinion 8 years, 7 months ago

Someone earlier wrote:

"You need to step up to the plate and pay what people are worth."

Worth? That is not what this is about. Worth is determind in a free market. What is being said here is "we want all people to be at at least at certain level". That is where things get cloudy because money does not just appear out of nowhere to pay more. To give someone more, someone else will get less.

imastinker 8 years, 7 months ago

Bozo -

those that can do the job make more money. Go to ANY place with some industry and try to find someone making minimum wage. Where I work, we start out at about 10-12 per hour for completely unskilled labor. We are hiring CONSTANTLY! People are too drugged up or hung over to even show up to work for that.

Even worse - we can't fill our skilled labor positions that pay twice or three times that. People want to be lazy. That's the only conclusion I can make from all this. The only people that make minumum wage make that because they want to be there - or are too imcompetent or lazy to do more. Retail is the only place that dosn't pay well.

But if you call every person that hires skilled or unskilled labor - you'd find the same story. Call the painters - or the garage door company - or the trucking companies. But the retail stores are the ones that don't pay well.

mzmarsha 8 years, 7 months ago

a living wage isn't the problem in Lawrence, the problem is affordable housing. If your'e not able to get subsidized housing here you pay about $575 to $625 for a decient 2bedroom apartment. Or you can opt to live in areas not very becoming or safe. making 5.15 an hour for a 40 hour week then having to pay that much for rent...do the math

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

extortion |ik&&char114&& stÃ'r sh Én| noun the practice of obtaining something, esp. money, through force or threats.

A minimum wage is not extortion-- it merely says that an employee should recieve a fair day's wage for a fair day's work.

Horatio Bfor 8 years, 7 months ago

"Businesses that have non local customers also bring in cash to the local community. This is good."

But if you only pay a very paltry minimum wage, it's really only good for you, not the community.

Quit confusing your own narrow self-interest with what is good for the community.

........... While it is a reasonable debate as to what is the value of money comming into Lawrence and the trade off of a lower wage, I would state this: Their are jobs available that pay more, and jobs that pay less. People get the jobs they can get based on their circumstances. It is an "employees" market out there. They have alot of options. If they simply want to make more money and can't, a LOCAL minimum wage increase will not solve their problem. They will just be out of work. They may also find that they must move from Lawrence to get work elsewhere.

I'm not confusing any "narrow self interest."

What is the Community? Is it the people in it, or the location? They same people that don't get paid high wages now, still won't after this would go into effect.

conservative 8 years, 7 months ago

"But if you only pay a very paltry minimum wage, it's really only good for you, not the community."

No bozo, it benefits the community by bringing in taxes. The people from out of town who spend money here will stop doing so if the prices skyrocket because of this proposal. And you need to realize that the out of town shoppers are probably spending money in other businesses as well. They stop for lunch, they buy gas....

Basic economics flunked by the bozo again.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 7 months ago

Maybe it is me but I sure am seeing alot of bashing of the unskilled, as some people call them, so now it is all their faults for this debate? what did these people do to anyone on here? many people work hard for a little bit of money and they are good honest hardworking people. Lawrence is expnsive to live in, daycare is outragouse and lets not forget food, and utilities. Yes most places do start out at or above $8 an hour but just because sme one does not make 50,000.00 a year or more does not make them bad evil drugies and drunks. Some people need to get their noses out of the air and off their high horses.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

"If they simply want to make more money and can't, a LOCAL minimum wage increase will not solve their problem."

I beg to differ.

mzmarsha 8 years, 7 months ago

I beg to differ imastinker, retail isn't the only place that doesn't pay well... workers like para educators, CNA's, CMA's and some clerical workers make anywhere from $6 to $7.50 an hour with experience...without experience it is minumum wage

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

"The people from out of town who spend money here will stop doing so if the prices skyrocket because of this proposal."

Prices will not skyrocket as a result of this proposal, although some businesses will have to learn to operate more efficiently, and a very few already marginal businesses may decide to quit trying to provide what very few people want, anyway. Whatever sales they had will then be spent elsewhere, most likely in Lawrence to businesses that are competent enough to pay a higher minimum wage. In turn, those employees who are now making a higher wage will have more money to spend in other Lawrence businesses.

Emily Hadley 8 years, 7 months ago

These people understand that many businesses do not actually understand economics.

The only time I have not been extremely poor while living in Lawrence is when I drove to Overland Park every day for work, and years of that, expensive as the car was, was actually what it took just to be able to afford to finish school at KU. I felt very valued and acknowledged and definitely worked hard to deserve that extra pay. I was proud of where I worked and who I worked for.

We can do better than $5.15. Are any local business owners continuing today on what they made in 1995?

When I got my first job in Johnson County, after looking at my application wage history, my boss readily offered me a dollar more an hour than my then-current wage in Lawrence, which was also then the highest wage I had earned. After being accustomed to 90-day 25-cent raises working at reputable retail chains that required professional attire, I was thrilled.

I quickly found out that I had started at $1.50 less per hour than everyone else, even kids working their first job, because my Lawrence job history revealed all those low wages and they knew I was already making more than I had before.

I couldn't blame them, but I definitely felt like I would have been better off to have never worked than to have worked here.

hipper_than_hip 8 years, 7 months ago

"I think that it is very interesting that one of the proponents of this effort, David Burress, is not a property or business owner and lives in a rented basement of a house owned by a freind."

According to the Douglas County Appraisers Office, David Burress owns a house at 813 Crestline Drive. I'll also mention that IMO he doesn't maintain it very well, and he cares not who he rents to.

rollcar 8 years, 7 months ago

Every single one of us has a unique set of skills and strengths. Some of those skills are more specialized than others, and therefore pay more. While every job is important to our community in some way, the fact is that there are 10,000 people who can be a cashier or a fast food cook for every one person who can be a neurosurgeon. If you want to make more money, learn a skill that is more in demand. How is paying people in this way not fair?

Besides, if every job paid good money, who would do the crummy ones?

12345 8 years, 7 months ago

"Not a lot of fair-minded grownups posting here, as usual."

Amen to that, ja bozo otb. These forums are so Jerry Springer I wish the JW would just put a stop to it. The first post set the tone so well, as the poster obviously didn't even read the whole story.

deec 8 years, 7 months ago

If crummy jobs paid better, the same people who do them now would still do them. They would just make more money.

truthhurts 8 years, 7 months ago

Regulations (whether federal/state/local) almost w/o exception harm smaller businesses. Whether it is the IRS tax code, HIPPA, or minimum wage small business bares a disproportionate share of the burden. When Congress raises the minimum wage larger corporations will feign disapproval and laugh while they watch more competitors struggle. The root of this problem is governmental interference in the free market. Overregulation stifles true competition.

opinion 8 years, 7 months ago

The underlying goal is a good one but I have not seen anything that would convince me that a living wage is the answer.

Are there studies one could point me to that show that living wage ordinances work? Most studies I have seen say they don't. Does anyone have a link?

I would like to see a creditable STUDY, not some "gut feeling" editorial.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 7 months ago

ok answers please, so if ou are already paying some one 9 an hour and min. goes to 9 do you have to give them a 4 $ raise? or just keep them at the 9?

packrat 8 years, 7 months ago

I've read several posts on this thread that compare minimum wage jobs to slavery. This is an insult to everyone whose ancestors fought against slavery or were slaves themselves. Slaves had no choice, no voice, and no rights. They were property. That was an abomination.

Workers have a choice about where they work. No one is forcing you to go to a job that doesn't pay enough. A person is free to find another one. Unless, of course, the Kommission drives away all the local jobs.

estespark 8 years, 7 months ago

Momma - They will want a raise...whether or not they actually get it is something else.

Horatio Bfor 8 years, 7 months ago

"Maybe it is me but I sure am seeing alot of bashing of the unskilled, as some people call them, so now it is all their faults for this debate?"

I don't think people here are bashing the unskilled. At least I know that I am not.

The job market in Lawrence is pretty tight. In my experience, people making less than $8 per hour are making that lower wage for a reason. These reasons can include: lack off skills, attitude, work ethics. THEY CAN ALSO INCLUDE trade offs for lifestyle choices. An employee that wants a flexible work schedule where they can take off whenever they want is worth less in the workplace than a worker that will work whatever schedule the employer wants. This is why nightshifts pay more than day shifts.
I see people all the time that don't make alot, some of them are not worth alot, but some fo them could be worth more, they don't want to do what is required to make more. This does not mean they are not capable.

I'll present an example. If I have an employee that will work 40 hrs per week, is a hard worker, on time, doesn't need to be away from work for personal reasons; we may agree that his correct pay is $9.50 per hour. Same job, but different employee: works hard, but requires a flexible schedule, wont work saturdays, needs to be off on short notice alot. This employee doesn't get paid as much. It isn't fair to the employee making $9.50, and it isn't fair to me, I must do more work to work around the employees personal requirements.

If you have a higher wage locally for the same work, you will loose jobs to other communities. This will happen.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 7 months ago

ok they may want a raise but would the employer have to give them a 4$ raise because of the increase? I really do know what I am trying to say just can notget it out.

Horatio Bfor 8 years, 7 months ago

"ok answers please, so if ou are already paying some one 9 an hour and min. goes to 9 do you have to give them a 4 $ raise? or just keep them at the 9?"

If they have skills, they will get paid more. If you can get any job in town for $9, a job to someone with a few skills or a great work ethic will pay more. Some people making less than $9 will make $9 or more. Some will be out of work in Lawrence.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 7 months ago

kefarris thank you for your post and I was not referring to you have not seen a bashing posted by you. Some others not so.

deec 8 years, 7 months ago

For those who claim minimum wage increases cause job loss, what is your evidence? This same argument was used when the minimum was raised 10 years ago.

Bruce Bertsch 8 years, 7 months ago

I hate blow up the myth of the economics experts, but raising the minimum wage, especially for food service workers would not cause a single business to close based on history. Whenever this issue is raised, the first thing that is stated is that we will then be overpaying labor and that businesses will leave and or go under, when a look at the past reveals that the opposite is generally true.

As a for instance, the minimum wage in NJ is around $8 p/hour. You would find the price of fast food in NJ to be about $0.10 higher per item. I doubt that is going to bankrupt anyone. Time and time again, organizations rail aagainst improved wages while failing to look at what really happened when wages were increased.

Kansas ranks 51st out of 50 states and DC in minimum wage rates. I would ask the so called economic experts why this hasn't produced a more vibrant economy. The answer is simple, less money to spend by workers on goods and services. Many here don't understand what FDR understood during the depression; the velocity of money, or how many times a dollar is spent is critical to growth.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 7 months ago

true,true I for one know for a fact that if I had more money I would buy more useless crap.

opinion 8 years, 7 months ago

Deec,

http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_Category=24

Now where are the links of the studies that show Living Wage ordinances work?

Thanks

Horatio Bfor 8 years, 7 months ago

"I hate blow up the myth of the economics experts, but raising the minimum wage, especially for food service workers would not cause a single business to close based on history"

I think fast food pays a good deal more than minimum. Fast food requires workers to work pretty hard relative to other jobs. I don't think the low state minimum wage means much since the national minumum wage is higher. I could be worng on this in some areas.

One big example is US and China. It can be argued that we have lost good paying jobs to China because their wage is lower than ours. The same will happen locally with Lawrence vs. Topeka or KC.

guesswho 8 years, 7 months ago

why have a minimum wage at all? Let the market rule everything

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 7 months ago

hey why not give me all the money sounds good for me anyway. No really I see good and bad because this article does not really answer questions I have and just seems to broad handed.

Confrontation 8 years, 7 months ago

It's obvious why business owners would be mad about this. If you make them pay more to their employees, then that's less in their personal bank accounts. That would result in worse season ticket seats to KU games, fewer trips to the spa, the inability to add four extra bathrooms to their home, etc.

deec 8 years, 7 months ago

The first citation is a pro-business think tank dedicated to "The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization, established in 1983. The NCPA's goal is to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector. Topics include reforms in health care, taxes, Social Security, welfare, criminal justice, education and environmental regulation." Hardly an impartial source. I wonder if their philosophy extends to ending all government subsidies to big business?

kshiker 8 years, 7 months ago

Wow. Confrontation, your last post was probably the most completely idiotic comment I have ever encountered! If you had any sense whatsoever you would realize that most small business owners are sole proprietors who are struggling to get by on a daily basis. If you had any understanding of the issue at all, you would note that a large percentage of small business startups fail within their first few years of operation. It would truly be nice if all small business owners were the fat cats you describe in your post, but that would definitely defy common sense and logic. Please do some research next time before you make yourself sound like a complete jerk.

optimist 8 years, 7 months ago

Basic economic laws dictate that raising the minimum wage in a small geographic area will result in a negative change in attitude toward that geographic area on the part of businesses. Anyone who can't accept that basic premise has no business giving their ill-informed opinion. That said it is incumbent upon those who would promote this policy to assure the community of their assertions that such a policy will not negatively impact the community overall. I mean real scientific proof!

I for one am tired of the transient population of Lawrence making laws the rest of us must live by. The University draws the "progressives" in and they stay just long enough to see what utopian ideas they can advance or help to advance and then move on to better themselves elsewhere after graduating while the rest of us suffer the consequences. This community must stop catering to the student population.

I propose we establish a grass-roots organization to stop candidates from buying votes through promises to take from the rich and give to the poor. This is legalized extortion and robbery. If you earn to little figure out a way to earn more on your own without trying to take what I've earned away from me and my family.

Jamesaust 8 years, 7 months ago

"What I mean by progressive is progress for ordinary people, trying to make the lives of ordinary people better," said Burress,

But, "ordinary people" do not work at minimum wages jobs. "Ordinary people" possess job skills that allow them to command a premium to a minimum wage.

"...the group still is discussing whether a minimum wage should be higher than [$8]."

Heck, lets just set the minimum wage at $50/hr. and we can all be well-off. Its really that simple. Let's just pass a law and make poverty illegal.

Harry_Manback 8 years, 7 months ago

The people in charge of this city are really dumb. They push away businesses that would create more jobs for its citizens, and then try increase the wages for those lucky enough to find jobs (without thinking what this might do to the employers).

I drive 1.5 hours round trip to Kansas City to work cause there are no jobs for me here, as do many others. I'm all for a living wage, but not when the city is so stupid it turns away plenty of decent jobs for its citizens, then whines that there aren't enough.

Minimum wage needs to be addressed on the federal level, then on the local level, not the other way around.

Harry_Manback 8 years, 7 months ago

Optimist,

"This community must stop catering to the student population."

Well, when 25% of its population comes from students, I think they become an important group. I'm a student, but I'm registered to vote in Douglas County and I pay its taxes, so why shouldn't I have a say?

Besides, most students I know have to work in KC cause they can't find jobs here (unless they work for KU or the service industry).

If you're going to say students shouldn't have a say, then you're basically saying anyone who lives here for less than five years shouldn't have a say. If you don't like living in a college town, then perhaps you should move cause the university has been here a lot longer than you have, and I don't think it's going to leave anytime soon.

kshiker 8 years, 7 months ago

Good comments Harry. I also am forced to commute over an hour to work every day. The only reason I choose to live in Lawrence is that I live in west Lawrence, which I am convinced needs to secede from the eastern half of Lawrence and form its own city. This city would be so much better for young families (the kind of residents the city should choose to recruit) if there were more jobs and retail available in the city.

It is true that I am not forced to shop outside the city. However, unless you are planning on purchasing drug paraphernalia or organic food as christmas gifts, the vision of the PLC City Commissioners for retail in this city is probably not adequate.

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

Considering that most businesses in Lawrence employ fewer than 25 people, this proposal will do nothing to address the issue of low-paying jobs in Lawrence.

This is targeted at keeping big retailers (namely Walmart, and any business that might compete with downtown) out of Lawrence.

Lawrence needs to elects its city commissioners by precinct so that groups like Grass Roots do not exert unfair influence simply because they are friends and supporters of the PLC.

EvanstonReader 8 years, 7 months ago

Lawrence is a bedroom community for Top City and KC so the majority of all the Lawrence Liberals that live there can vilify Corporate America while they secretly shop at Target and Wal-Mart on the way home.

What does it matter to them if the people they are trying to help are going to have to find a way to get to Top City and KC to shop for goods they can afford, because all these get little specialty shops that make Lawrence so "unique" don't offer what a family that makes less the $20,000 a year need. If you run out all of those horrible big box retails and other national chains that offer quality goods at affordable prices, you aren't going to have any people left to work in the specialty stores, because poor people don't need $200 blue jeans and $20 hammers.

kshiker 8 years, 7 months ago

Tony88, in response to your brilliant comment, we already have all 3 of those stores in Lawrence. So, I'm assuming they would not be the stores I referenced in spending my dollars outside of Lawrence. . . Just a thought.

opinion 8 years, 7 months ago

tony88,

Out of all of the sources on the subject of min. wage in the link you search to find one article on another topic to try discredit the studies referenced? I take it you don't want to see anything that says this increase in min. wage plan won't work.

I am still waiting for someone to post a link to a study that shows living wage ordinances work. I am open minded on the topic. If they work, then good - let's do it. Just point me to some data that shows that.

kshiker 8 years, 7 months ago

Outside of retail, the most pressing concern for that low- to middle-income family is probably housing and not retail. If the City Commission wasn't so busy putting moratoriums on rural and urban development in northwest and southwest lawrence, there might actually be a steady supply of housing available for purchase in the areas of the city where young families actually WANT to live. Instead, they are forced to purchase 50 year-old, energy inefficient homes in the student ghetto.

opinion 8 years, 7 months ago

I have researched it and have not found supporting evidence for the groups ideas. Why do some on this forum think that they can spout what ever they want and the rest should just swallow?

Linda Endicott 8 years, 7 months ago

Sometimes an employee's wages have absolutely nothing to do with their perceived "worth" by the company or business. Sometimes, they pay these people far less than they're worth simply because they can...and it leaves more profit for the owners.

don_burgess 8 years, 7 months ago

I cant count how many crappy, underpaid, jobs I had when I worked as a student here. I am a fellow commuter who is paid with Kansas city dollars and who supports Lawrence retail.

By rasing the minimum wage this high, businesses would likely rasie prices, and the whole economy would shift to favor higher rents, and higher prices for basic good and services. This idea would work if tourist revenue was guaranteed on a much larger scale. Look at Aspen.

Students however, ARE discriminated against and exploited by businesses for cheap labor. I think a middle ground needs to be met. We can't rely on the feds to keep people fed and sheltered.

What happened to the Lawrence bucks idea? Who shot that down? It seemed like a reasonable plan.

Confrontation 8 years, 7 months ago

kshiker: If your crappy business fails, then is most likely due to the fact that you're a bad manager, or you're trying to sale overpriced crap that nobody wants. Perhaps you're paying your employees so little that they never show up, and your customers are pissed at having to wait too long in line. If you own a business, and you are just barely able to survive, then it's your own fault. You shouldn't have bought that new sporty car so soon, and you shouldn't have invested in a crappy product/service. Seriously, how many sandwich shops and junk stores do we need in this town?

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

"Sometimes, they pay these people far less than they're worth simply because they can...and it leaves more profit for the owners"

If the workers are worth more than they are being paid, they should look for an employer that appreciates the value of their skills and work ethic and is willing to pay them more.

No one is forcing anyone to work for minimum wage in Lawrence; no one is forcing anyone to work in Lawrence. If you do not like the situation you are in, change the situation.

dviper 8 years, 7 months ago

The LJW headline should be changed to identify the "Group" just as they commonly do with conservative groups.

So, here is some help:

It sounds like this group advocates a social system characterized by the common ownership of the means of production and subsistence by the organization of labor for the common advantage of all members of society, and a system of government in which the state controls the means of production and ensures all goods are shared equally by society.

With that in mind, the headline should read, "Communist Group to push for Lawrence minimum wage, and other ideas".

Sigmund 8 years, 7 months ago

The Effects of the Proposed Santa Fe Minimum Wage Increase, by Dr. David A. Macpherson - Florida State University.

"This study concludes a citywide $10.50 minimum wage is inefficient and also detrimental to many of those it is intended to help. First, approximately 154 of the 2,700 affected employees would be expected to lose their jobs because of this ordinance. This translates to over 5% of affected employees or about one in every twenty employees. Second, the employees who lose their jobs will see a loss of $1.9 million, while employers will see their labor costs increase by $6.6 million after cutting back the workforce. Third, over one in every five dollars in wage increases will go to low-wage employees in families earning more than $40,000 a year. Fourth, over one in four of those affected by the minimum wage live with either their parents or another relative. Finally, fewer than one-fourth of affected beneficiaries are the sole supporter of a family with children, the often mentioned target of these wage increases."

http://www.epionline.org/study_detail.cfm?sid=38

Sigmund 8 years, 7 months ago

Santa Fe's Living Wage and the Labor Market, by Dr. Aaron Yelowitz - University of Kentucky.

"Utilizing United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey (CPS) microdata, Dr. Yelowitz found that Santa Fe's living wage ordinance is responsible for a 3.2 percentage point increase in the city's unemployment rate. While the aggregate unemployment rate for Santa Fe remains lower than many surrounding areas, this is because other factors serve to counteract a portion of the living wage ordinance's negative effect on the job market. Examining the data further, Dr. Yelowitz found that nearly the entire negative effect in terms of unemployment was felt by Santa Fe's least educated residents. Those with 12 years of education or fewer suffered an extremely large and negative effect, while those with 13 years of education or more felt virtually no statistically or economically significant effect."

http://www.epionline.org/study_detail.cfm?sid=90

Sigmund 8 years, 7 months ago

Santa Fe's Living Wage and the Labor Market, by Dr. Aaron Yelowitz - University of Kentucky.

"Overall, the results of this complete economic analysis show that the living wage in Santa Fe had an indisputable negative effect on the labor market. As a result of the increase in the wage floor, unemployment is significantly increased in the city and individuals who were able to keep their jobs are being forced to work fewer hours. Most troubling, though, is the fact that the least skilled employees are those who are being most hurt by this ordinance. Voters in other areas considering an increase in the minimum wage must consider these unintended consequences that end up hurting those who the law is supposed to help."

http://www.epionline.org/study_detail.cfm?sid=90

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 7 months ago

just raise min. wage across the nation and keep all things equal at least that is how I see it. Keeps all employers on even ground and does make sure that some not so good employers can not screw people over because the can and people are in need of the job.

wgregs 8 years, 7 months ago

I love how the message boards bring out the worst in people. It's great entertainment. The ratio of personal attacks and snotty attitudes to rational, reasoned thoughts is so high my brain might explode. Please, continue to provide me with free entertainment. I'm not going to give my two cents about the issue because I'm smart enough to know that I don't have enough facts to have an educated opinion. I may have a gut reaction, but that's not worth a pile of turds.

kshiker 8 years, 7 months ago

Confrontation --

Your last argument effectively made my argument for me. Thank you. It is about time that the City Commission allows the downtown businesses to compete against other retailers without government support. If people are no longer interested in purchasing your product or service, then it is time for your business to close. If Wal-Mart is able to provide the same product to you at a lesser price, so be it. Lets let competition and the free market dictate the amount of retail entering the city and what those retailers will pay their employees in compensation. Enough with excessive micro-management!

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

"...." by fighting for workers rights and raising the minimum wage..."

No, by taking personal action that will improve your own lot in life, and not waiting around for some college profs to form a group that calls on the government to create new "rights" for workers by taking away rights of business owners.

If this group were truly concerned that every worker in Lawrence should be paid at least $8 an hour, they would not have proposed the "under 25 employee" exemption.

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

When does the Grass Roots group plan to fight for the income rights of the entrepreneurs who do not take any income from their businesses for months and years while they are trying to get their businesses off the ground, or, when business takes a down turn?

budwhysir 8 years, 7 months ago

As an ordinary person, I would like to voice my opinion here.

How do we decide what the min. wage should be for ordinary people? Further more, what jobs are ordinary people qualified for?

My ordinary day of trying to help fund all day kindergarten at 1 mil a year makes me wonder if it is all worth it.

Horatio Bfor 8 years, 7 months ago

I think I know my problem. I don't consider myself ordinary

budwhysir 8 years, 7 months ago

As an ordinary person, I try to keep my grass roots from growing to large

budwhysir 8 years, 7 months ago

Have you looked up ordinary person in the dictionary? As I wrote earlier I could not find the meaning of this political phrase.

I dont know what an ordinary person is

monkeyhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

I can just see these old dudes sitting cross-legged on the basement floor, passing around the bong, coming up with this stuff. Choking on the smoke, proclaiming in true Cheech and Chong fashion "hey man, this one'll really piss 'em off!! Can't wait to see all the squealing on the forum in the morning...tee hee" Maybe they are all just playing us.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

Way to go straight for the (quite certainly inaccurate) ad hominem attack, monkeyhawk.

monkeyhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

...just a rare moment of humor, bozo. I can see you are offended, gonna report me?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

That moment was so rare that it lacked any trace of humor.

monkeyhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

c'mon, bozo, lighten up. Think of it as a verbal cartoon. You did conjure up the image, didn't you?

lynnd 8 years, 7 months ago

I understand that it seems easier to effect change at the local level, but I wish this effort would be spent at the national level. The national minimum wage needs to increase, I think we can all agree with that. Lawrence should not have to enact a city wide minimum wage- our national government should be taking better care of it's people.

I've long felt that the problem is that so many people want to live/work in Lawrence, that employers can get away with paying less. If you won't take a low paying job, there's someone else who would probably be grateful for it. Unfortunately that's probably not going to change, because Lawrence is a popular place. The market should be allowed to determine wages, to a certain extent, but yet the city really has no business dictating to my employer what they should pay me.

I'm quite sure I could make a lot more money if I drove to KC...but I'm not willing to give up that extra time in my day, so I settle for a lesser paying job in Lawrence.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

"I'm quite sure I could make a lot more money if I drove to KC...but I'm not willing to give up that extra time in my day, so I settle for a lesser paying job in Lawrence."

Are you making less than $10.00 per hour?

budwhysir 8 years, 7 months ago

I cant get a word in edge wize without bozo telling you all how it is.

You see we all come back to the questions or are you making so much an hour. We dont need some grass root organization telling us if that is enough do we?

ORDINARY PEOPLE: noun verb and pronoun. Those not holding public office or double word titles like HISTORY PROFESSOR or PUCLIC ECONOMIST

budwhysir 8 years, 7 months ago

I have done some research and found that minimum wage promotes minimum work. If we raise the wages, we might raise the work produced. This would make higher paying jobs such as management worth less. Is this the direction the GRASS ROOTS is wanting us to go??

Richard Heckler 8 years, 7 months ago

The federal government will likely increase the minimum wage according to the news.

Anyone working in Lawrence Kansas @ $5.15 - $7.00 per hour is likely elgible for food stamps and other social services. $806 per month will not cover health care,rent,utilities,clothing,groceries,property taxes(Car),car insurance,car repairs,gasoline and phone. City,state and federal taxes are picking up the tab for assistance. Where is that money coming from?

If no one wants to pay workers enough to keep employees off social services then the need for such services will only increase. A person cannot afford to live in Lawrence on $806.00 per month. Commuting elsewhere at that wage is certainly out of the question when gasoline is @ $15.14 per gallon http://www.progress.org/gasoline.htm

Maybe crappy new house construction,high property taxes, high cost of housing, state legislatures attitude toward public education which has made the national news, intelligent design also in national news, resistance to sex education and low teacher salaries could be reasons new business is difficult to attract.

As Lawrence grows so will our tax bills to pay for the additional cost of community of community services. More schools,teacher salaries,fire stations plus staffing,more police and equipment,more libraries plus staffing,more city maintenance staff,more streets to repair,more water main breaks,more new traffic lights, more city equipment,more parks and rec centers,more infrastructure across the board to maintain etc etc and this is the short list of services a city provides aka the hidden costs of growth which demand more and more money.

So as the cost of living continues to escalate so must some wages or else social services cost more. So will hospital rates as they pick up the tab for those who cannot afford medical care which is not limited to minimum wage workers.

middleoftheroader 8 years, 7 months ago

Tony88, I haven't found any source of information that links any deaths in this city to the federal minimum wage of 5.15/hr. nor any that state that if the federal minimum wage had been X amount more, then said person would have lived. If you can find any,please post for me the link. if the minimum wage is causing deaths than I certainly am all for raising it. You asked "can someone at this wage afford health care?" I don't see how they could. I make more than 5.15 an hour and I can't afford health care. I dont want anybody leeching off the government, i.e. taxpayer supported programs. You also stated that in addition to other problems, low wages are instrumental in creating the requirement for social welfare programs. Does this mean that you are for raising the minimum wage and abolishing social welfare programs? If so, then I believe you are half right. I also believe that even if we raised the minimum wage to x amount...not only would there still be social welfare programs, but there would still be people leeching off of them. Btw I applaud our public discourse. It is so much nicer to engage in political philosophical discussions as we have, then continuing to read the namecalling and bickering of certain other posters. We are all rational logical thinking beings, and we are all on the side of wanting to better ourselves, it's much easier to do that when we listen objectively to all ideas before concluding our own.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

"but there would still be people leeching off of them."

"It is so much nicer to engage in political philosophical discussions as we have, then continuing to read the namecalling and bickering of certain other posters."

There is a very clear disconnect between these two statements.

deec 8 years, 7 months ago

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=639756 " Abstract:
This paper presents one of the first quantitative assessments of the effect living wage laws have had on firms covered by their mandate. Applying difference-in-difference estimation methods to survey data from Boston, Massachusetts, I find little evidence of reduced employment or hours worked, following living wage implementation. Instead, there is strong evidence that firms actually shifted from part-time towards full-time staffing as a result of Boston's living wage law. Estimates also reveal a substantial degree of wage compression within firms who raised wages. Finding no evidence of reduced employment or hours, this paper uses qualitative survey data to examine other ways in which firms may have adjusted to higher wages. I find some evidence that covered firms have taken lower profits as a way to adjust to the Boston law."

http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/issueguides_livingwage_livingwagefacts http://www.laborstudies.wayne.edu/research/1999report.pdf

http://www.cepr.net/publications/labor_market_2005_12.pdf

Emily Hadley 8 years, 7 months ago

"I also am forced to commute over an hour to work every day. The only reason I choose to live in Lawrence is that I live in west Lawrence, which I am convinced needs to secede from the eastern half of Lawrence and form its own city. This city would be so much better for young families (the kind of residents the city should choose to recruit) if there were more jobs and retail available in the city." "If the City Commission wasn't so busy putting moratoriums on rural and urban development in northwest and southwest lawrence, there might actually be a steady supply of housing available for purchase in the areas of the city where young families actually WANT to live. Instead, they are forced to purchase 50 year-old, energy inefficient homes in the student ghetto."


SO, you are FORCED to drive an hour to work, yet you CHOOSE to live in West Lawrence? So, if you CHOSE to live close to work, you would still be FORCED to drive an hour??

Also, "young families" are FORCED to buy houses in the "student ghetto"? And that is because OUR CITY isn't "SUPPLYING" a steady supply of new houses? Where the heck do young families all want to live?

You also saying that new housing developments are energy efficient, and more so than old houses? Weren't many old houses built with porches, eaves, and southern exposure designed to conserve light and heat energy in all seasons, while new houses are built with the assumption that artificial heat and AC will do that work? Weren't old houses specifically designed not to require constant electric and gas energy, as it was non-existent, scarce, or an expense afforded only by the wealthy at the time? Don't many old houses have high ceilings to provide ventilation and fresh air while new 9 foot ceilings require constant artificial circulation? Aren't many old houses generally two-story while a new house with the same sq. footage would be more likely one story? Don't many old houses have basements that regulate temperature, large doorways, solid doors, lathe packed with horse-hair plaster rather than thin sheet rock prone to mold, 8x8 (or better) timbers to preserve the house for a hundred years?

Comparing the energy efficient housing standards with the Showcase of Houses provided me no overlap. A 30% brick facade doesn't help the environment. Check out the new homes at 15th and Haskell, with the gaps in the fake siding. They have no large windows, and though identical, they all face the cul-de-sacs, regardless of exposure. I doubt they have water-heated floors, rainfall capture, efficient lighting, and I don't see any solar panels.

New houses, like new wages, are a profit-driven lowest common denominator. When the city has to maintain services all the way out to those new developments, we should be very cautious about expanding the grid, especially with plenty of available housing. If you don't like Lawrence, you can't expect LAWRENCE to build you a new city you like better.

Porter 8 years, 7 months ago

Great post Emily.

Personally, I'm tired of hearing what a crappy town Lawrence is. I'm tired of hearing how hated the city commission is and how the market should have no controls, regulations, zoning, etc. If this town sucks so bad, housing costs are too high, and there aren't enough jobs, why do you all still live here? I'm sure you would be happier somewhere else. I like Lawrence for what it is, and I hope we don't become another Blue Springs or Olathe. I don't blame you if that's what you want, but why not let Lawrence be different? No one is stopping you from moving to Topeka or Joco.

budwhysir 8 years, 7 months ago

As an ordinary person, I find myself sitting here on a Saturday afternoon, comparing notes with people using anonymous names in a blog.

Is it possible that a grass roots organization has no idea of my needs, expectations, or wants.

Let the people be heard. Speak all ye ordinary people and let the word be heard. Stop making ordinary money for ordinary jobs in an ordinary town. Lets make big money in a little job while increasing our tax base. More money equals larger taxes equals more money for schools and public transit and cell phone towers

budwhysir 8 years, 7 months ago

I love it when people say they are forced to live somewhere. I believe some people are in the wrong blogg page. They are talking about homes in other areas but we have another task at hand, determining our minimum wage. Keep in mind that only ordinary people live in lawrence so we should not be worried about how fancy our houses look

Emily Hadley 8 years, 7 months ago

Back to the wage topic, it seems that higher wages (for those such as unskilled workers and students without family subsidization) would allow those people to afford more than $200 a month rent, thus allowing property owners to charge more, thus allowing them more money for improvements and maintenance. (Students might even be able to work a bit less and have time to better maintain their yards and houses!) As property values and costs of living continue to rise, we have to find a way for a city with so many rented properties to maintain decent neighborhoods.

To anyone who thinks the federal government should spearhead this before we act on a local level, please tell us what is is that has pressured our legislative bodies to consider a minimum wage increase other than pressure from the bottom up. Congress has voted itself a wage increase every year since 1995 because they are the people affected by such things. Why on earth would they consider raising the wage if nobody at the local/grassroots level was writing, lobbying, or acting to enact such legislation? The government exists to serve and speak for us, not the other way around. There are 295,734,134 people in the US and 540 congressmen representing them. That's an average of about 547,656 citizens per representative. If each congressman received a measly 5000 letters, emails, or phone calls from their constituents, I would bet that they would be much more likely to support such a wage increase, and that is less than 1%. Imagine if everyone who supported a higher minimum wage contacted their congressman!
We can't wait for the federal government to move on this--they are more in the market for million dollar hammers than for anything that has to do with our health and well-being.

Emily Hadley 8 years, 7 months ago

Marion, the IWW is not communist, and you have amazingly managed to present yourself as even more detached from reality. Communism is the elimination of private property and the distribution of goods according to need. The IWW is an international group supporting fair labor practices across international borders. http://www.iww.org/

I do think people are dying from this problem--look at the statistics reported by Health Care Access recently, and nationwide statistics on health care and elderly and child poverty. Preventative health care is the most important way to keep government costs for subsidized health care down, but it is not encouraged and must be paid out of one's own pocket. Healthy people have healthy kids, are more productive, and cost the state and the federal government much less in the long run. When CEO-worker pay disparity means that we would be making a minimum of $25 an hour to have kept up with their salaries, something is wrong. We've lost a lot in our overseas trade policies, but we have to take small steps such as this to create a larger national pressure to protect our nation's economy and trade deficits. Succumbing to the threat of shipping jobs overseas by mimicking overseas labor practices is not the answer. I recommend that anyone who believes in uncontrolled free trade and unregulated labor do a bit of reading on places like Saipan, a U.S. commonwealth, where poor women from Southeast Asia are shipped to work in U.S. factories, promised good wages and even receiving their travel costs advanced from their recruiters. Who wouldn't think that alone was promising of good earnings? Many are mothers trying to earn a better life for their families, and they think they are going to the US, which, ironically, they ARE. They arrive on a one-way trip and are told they will earn maybe a fourth their promised wage, but have no choice, as they are indebted for their trip costs and have no way to get off the island. This is the U.S., an there are NO labor regulations there, not even access to water. Most workers never leave and many die of tuberculosis after years of living in crowded barracks with no basic provisions for sustaining human life.
Wikipedia includes this excerpt of Tom DeLay's speech to the governor there:

"You are a shining light for what is happening in the Republican Party, and you represent everything that is good about what we're trying to do in America in leading the world in the free-market system."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saipan

Is this what you would have here?

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

Budwhyser, you are on the right track. Our minimum wage should be a reflection of our minimum expectations.

budwhysir 8 years, 7 months ago

EMILY; I hope you do not feel forced to write on this subject. Lets stay with the subject of minimum wage and nother health care or keeping our lawns up. I find plenty of time to mow my yard and keep grass roots from growing to large.

Marion, I find your views very easy to digest, Do you feel that if all of our houses where built in flood plains that grass roots would be a problem in Lawrence?

budwhysir 8 years, 7 months ago

Say I make lightbulbs for a living (comparison to be shown) With labor and parts, it costs my employer $1.00 per bulb. I can make 5 bulbs per hour. TOTAL AMOUNT PRODUCED $5.00 PHR

SAY YOU PAY ME $8.00 PER HOUR

WILL MY EMPLOYER MAKE A PROFIT?? WILL HE NEED TAX INCENTIVES AND TAX BREAKS TO STAY IN BUSINESS??

I think the light bulb came on (dont worry its an ordinary light bulb)

Emily Hadley 8 years, 7 months ago

"keep grass roots from growing to large"

What does that mean?

Grass needs deep roots, otherwise you have to artificially irrigate and fertilize it to keep it from dying.

budwhysir 8 years, 7 months ago

Emily, the group that is working on this subject, are considered a grass roots organization. This political term means a group of unordinary people who have taken upon themselves to make decisions for ordinary people. The reason I ask what Elvis would do is because he is the man, he knows everything about ordinary people and what money does to them. I know that grass needs fertilization and irrigation to grow but as you pointed out we do not have time to take care of mowing our yards at this point

Marion, once again your post develops a complete list of all the words left from many of the political articles we read now a days.

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

Merrill wrote, "So will hospital rates as they pick up the tab for those who cannot afford medical care which is not limited to minimum wage workers."

Actually, the hospital rates are going to go up because the hospital board has chosen to make LMH a luxury facility in order to attract rich folk from Johnson County.

Porter 8 years, 7 months ago

You kinda twisted what I said a little, didn't you Pilgrim? You're right that my vision of Lawrence is no more of a utopia than yours. However, I'm not going to piss and moan that our city leaders aren't begging CostCo and Sam's Club to bulldoze downtown. If you demand change, then do something about. I'll give Marion respect for trying to develop a PAC. I don't have the same vision as he does, but at least he's doing more than just whining about it. If the tide turns and we start building Kwik-E-Marts and Dollar General stores halfway to Topeka, then I will either keep my mouth shut about it, move to a better place, or start making campaign signs.

Back to wages.

Pilgrim must've read my post wrong, because I don't want Lawrence to be like it was in the 50's. Unlike those that oppose a minimum wage hike, I'm not old enough to remember the 50's. I understand that a cheeseburger and shake isn't 29 cents like it was when you all went to the drive-in and the sock-hop. Cost of living goes up. Taxes go up. Shouldn't wages follow?

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

Marion, I just now took the time to follow your links. Thank you for the enlightenment.

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

Porter, one's wages should increase as one gains skills and experience. If they do not, then one should find a new employer. The unemployment rate is quite low, meaning that it is a "buyers market" for motivated job seekers.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 8 years, 7 months ago

The question is not so much should we raise the minimum wage. The question is should Lawrence do it. I would be all for raising it on the national level, but not on the state level and certainly not just in Lawrence.

Porter 8 years, 7 months ago

Lifelong, Why not do it in just Lawrence? This doesn't affect people that work in the Capitol Buildings as much as it affects us locally. I like the idea of individual communities making this decision.

Godot, Should we get rid of the min. wage completely then?

budwhysir 8 years, 7 months ago

Scotty, I already know that elvis left tongi last year, he moved back to lawrence and is now working an ordinary job making min. wage. I talked with him yesterday

Porter 8 years, 7 months ago

Godot- I can understand your position. I don't agree with it, but I appreciate your logic.

Just out of curiosity, how do you feel about government price control on things like section 8 housing, drug prices, insurance premiums/coverage, etc.? I'm not baiting-I'm genuinely curious about the idea of a free price system.

budwhysir 8 years, 7 months ago

How bout a maximum wage for maximum work???

Its all about the green

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

Sorry, Porter, I am not aware of a minimum, or maximum, required price for drugs or insurance; I am aware of an inflated price paid to property owners for a minimum rent paid by beneficiaries of Section 8 housing, illustrating how government programs lead to corruption and waste.

I do not see how any of this reflects positively on the support of a government mandated minimum wage.

Porter 8 years, 7 months ago

I had some pretty poor assumptions about pharmaceuticals and insurance--Got corrected when I checked the facts. My apologies.

Guess we're more of a free enterprise country than I thought.

budwhysir 8 years, 7 months ago

I believe everything around us is controlled. We must walk a fine line when trying to control things that are beyond us.

We can regulate alot of things but we cant make the world stop spinning.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 7 months ago

people just send me all your money and be done with profits, paying more or anything, I take all donations.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 7 months ago

Well, Budwhysir, the main thing missing from your formula is how much your boss charges the public per light bulb when he sells them.

(Not that I ever heard of a light bulb that costs $1 apiece to make; since I can buy a four-pack of them for $2.)

If it costs your boss $1 to make a light bulb, and you can make 5 in an hour, amounting to a $5 cost for your boss, and he pays you $8 an hour...

Yes, indeed, he can still make a profit, if he sells those light bulbs for $5 apiece...that would be $25 for those five light bulbs you made in an hour...minus your $8 wage, would be $17 profit...

I never heard of a single manufacturer who sold products for exactly what it cost them to make those prodcuts. Usually, the markup is much, much higher.

I once found out (via an employee who left the data out in the open, when they weren't supposed to) that Wal-Mart was selling little plastic sunglasses for kids for $3 a pair. You know how much Wal-Mart had to pay for them per pair? $.25...now THAT'S quite a markup, wouldn't you say?

And it cost the manufacturer much less per pair to produce them, I would guess.

budwhysir 8 years, 6 months ago

crazyks, you got me, I was just ramblin my point is, well I have no point cause im just and ordinary person

Linda Endicott 8 years, 6 months ago

I'm just an ordinary person, too. With ordinary money that I work damn hard for at a job where I'm not appreciated, and I'm worth more than they pay me, but they don't HAVE to pay me more, and so they don't.

I make above minimum wage, but what I do is a hard job, and it's still worth more. Management certainly thinks they're worth more. I'm just a peon.

Seems to me there are more ORDINARY people out there than any other kind...

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